Max and I have wrapped the Kickstarter gifts for the string ensemble and the project culminated in playing an amazing music festival with Kronos Quartet.
With that behind me, I’m refocusing on my solo music and the EDM side project The Great Fires with Nyles Lannon (formerly Film School).
I’ve written about 11 songs I’m extremely excited about. The challenge now is to update my home recording studio which is badly out of date to the point of being unusable and figure out if I actually have the capability to record my own music at home.
I’ve always recorded overdubs and most vocals at home to save money, but the fall in interest in paying for music has pushed me against the wall. Very simply I can’t afford to go into the studio anymore, so I have to get creative if I want to continue to make the music I love so much. It hurts that the quality of my next recording might not live up to past releases, but I need to work in a sustainable manner and I hope that with the advances in technology, the losses in quality will be heard by just audio engineers and audiophiles and not by the general listener (of which I consider myself a part!). The only way to know is to try. Stay tuned…
Finally a new website. It’s not perfect but after having the old one for about 13 years it was definitely time. I’m hoping this new site will be easier for me to update and not as buggy!
april 2 2013
We made it! Thanks to you we raised enough money to press ep’s, pay the deserving classical musicians and hold a concert for you!Save the date for possibly the last string ensemble concert ever with special performances by john vanderslice and jeff anderle. Friday, april 12th at 8pm, at 998 valencia st., san francisco, ca 94110
February 18 2013
First kickstarter project in 4 years launched last week! It’s a concert + ep with invisible stories ensemble & classical composer max stoffregen. Hope you’d want a song, a copy or a ticket to the show. Pledge before march 10th so some great gifts! Http://www.Kickstarter.Com/projects/odessa/the-act-of-loving-you-album-release-and-concert
March 10 2012
Our new cd archives of the natural world is finished and we are practicing for the cd release on march 31st at the first unitarian universalist church on geary. 7-9pm. Please see details on the shows page! You can buy tickets in advance but there will be some at the door as well. All proceeds after cost will go to the NRDC wildlife preservation fund. I have 2 cd’s worth of songs in the pipeline. The more accessible work so far giving up the ghosts and then a batch of weird bluesy creepy songs as yet to be named. We are working on arrangements and i am working with a producer for the first time!
March 2 2011
Our new cd archives of the natural world is finished and i am in the process of making the cd art. We decided we will press cd’s as well as do mp3 versions. The band and i are also hard at work on new material and working for the first time with a producer who is helping me uncover what these songs are trying to be sooner than i could on my own. Sometimes you really need an outside perspective! I’m also trying to get all the kickstarter gifts out to everyone…It’s a tad confusing by i’m working on it!
Dec 16 2010
Just got the mastered versions back from the mastering house and there are just a few changes. So exciting! 5 years coming to a close is a relief, but there’s some sadness there too! I’m starting work on the cd art and hope to have that done in a month. Then focusing on getting a cd release in order! Can’t wait to share this with you!
dec 10th 2010
So this area has become as deserted as the streets of tuscon (where i used to live). I’m sorry. I love you, i just don’t know how to show it. News is this, i’ve finally after about 5 years fin- ished my 3rd cd and am currently listing to the mastered cd. True. Weird. And forthcoming. Thanks to all of you who have hung in there and cared. Once i finish the cd art and have them presses like hot cakes they will make their way to you! We did it! We raised $10,000 to finish the archives!
Feb 24 2010
Only 24 days left to fund the archives! Pledge now to make it happen! Http://www.Kickstarter.Com/projects/odessa/the-archives sf weekly feature: great writer, great write up. Http://www.Sfweekly.Com/2010-01-13/music/odessa-chen-leaves-her-music-open-to-interpretation/
nov 15 2009
I started partnering with longtime friend gary chou and brainstorming ideas on how to make the archives available soon. He’s got a lot of cutting edge ideas that frankly have me in awe. Funding is a huge issue and we’ve been playing around with a number of exciting options… Stay tuned! I’m excited to get prepared for the special christmas concert. Ideas for songs to perform in honor of winter or the holidays? Email me. No promises but suggestions welcome.
Oct 7th, 2009
The mtv u ahead of the curve spot is up! Not only will it be on their stations throughout the country but its also online and you can see it here. Http://www.Mtvu.Com/music/ahead-of-the-curve/odessa-chen/ Woo hoo people! Woo hoo.
sept 22 2009
So much great news! We filmed a spot for mtv u, ahead of the curve http://www.Mtvu.Com/category/music/ahead-of-the-curve/ Not sure if we’ll make the cut (they filmed tons of bands that day) but hoping! It was super fun, Roger was grinning the whole time, and it sounded great. Recorded in an old warehouse with real cameras on those train track thingys. The staff was super nice. ~ collaboration Working on a collaboration with max stoffregen and great pianist who has done arrangements for john vanderslice. He’s generously offered to do an all string arrangement for a brand new song “the act of loving you”. So excited! We will make it a special limited edition cd or some sort. Http://maxstoffregen.Com/max_is_a_composer/max_is_a_composer.Html ~ christmas concert Great friend and amazing singer songwriter noe venable and i will be putting on a special concert at the universalist church were i held the ballad of paper ships cd release. We’ll be putting together some duets and special christmas like tunes. Save the date dec 23rd 6-9pm. Http://www.Noevenable.Com ~ yerba buena center for the arts asked us back! ~ got word that the ybca performance with janice garrett and charles moulton will be reprised for 6 more performances in january 2010. Sign up for the mailing list to get updates on the new dates. 23 dancers, with my music arranged for string quartet , drums, bass clarinet and piano. More wonderful music by jonathan russell.
july 27 2009
Just got back from a week in tahoe to work on the new record. It’s always eye opening to hear yourself recorded and it never fails to surprise. I’m still working towards sounding like what i hear in my head, but i know everyday i’m getting closer and this record will be better than the last in at least that regard. I’m collaborating with an amazing painter on the artwork for this one. Her work can be seen at http://www.Swanbones.Com. Truly incredible and inspiring work. I am so happy she decided to work with me! Still looking for possible record labels to release this so if you know anyone who could help please let them know. Thank you! Odessa
June 6 2009
After a break to work and get some money together i’ve been recording some vocals at my house with the help of jay, my engineer. He’s incredibly generous about working within my budget and doing some stuff at home. Sadly the artist i had hired to do some special artwork for the archives wasn’t able to complete the project so i’m back at square one. If you know anyone i should consider please email me a link. Looks like the yerba buena dance event is on course for a reprise in january of 2010….With some more music and some changes so it won’t be exactly the same.
May 23 2009
Have been busy at home recording some overdubs for the archives with a cellist and french horn player. Just some editing to do and then tracking some final vocals. Writing some new pieces and trying to figure out a time when i can finally play a show with my good friend noe venable. It’s something we’ve discussed for years but hasn’t happened yet…Maybe in nyc, maybe here…We’ll see!
April 27 2009
The performances at the yerba buena with janice garrett and charles moulton were exhilarating. The musicians music director jonathan russell put together were such nice people and played so well. The dancers were incredibly welcoming and by the end it felt like on big happy family. What more can you ask for? Charles and janice were very gracious and working with them was a pleasure. My parents even flew out from baltimore to see the show. We were lucky enough to sell out all 4 nights before we even opened and the audience response was the best i’ve ever encountered. Looks as if we may be asked back to do it again this fall! I’ll keep you posted.
April 2 2009
So the project at the yerba buena is on! I will be performing with 23 dancers, string quartet, piano and drums. Please see the upcoming shows page for all the details and ways to purchase tickets in advance. I am excited about this collaboration and how unique this particular set up is. I wish devin, roger and rich were involved but rehearsing with the quartet is so much fun. Hearing the intro to snow angels for the first time in person (not just in the studio) makes me so happy!
March 1 2009
On the good side, there is a cool project in the works. Some very talented and established choreographers approached me about incorporating my music in a performance for the yerba buena in april. I am so excited about the prospect of performing with them in a new context. Possibly with a string quartet, with modern dancers all around. I will keep you posted. On the not so good side, the road to recovery is slow, but good. I have lost a lot of strength and physical therapy will go on for awhile. I am supposed to take in easy for the next six months and there will be no more lifting or running in my future. I am also restricted in my movements as well as only being able to sit for very short periods of time (15 min now, eventually 30 min only), so it has made getting anything done difficult. It’s hard to imagine a life where i will have to change positions every 30 min…Isn’t that add?
February 18 2009
The surgery went extremely well. Immediately afterwards i could stand straight up and walk! All the pain and numbness in my leg is gone. Overall the pain has been so much less after surgery than it was before, which was unexpected. I still have a ways to go and physical therapy, but i’m feeling much better now.
February 9 2009
Surgery is always a last resort, but being unable to walk for 7 weeks will convince you it’s necessary. While this may only take care of the nerve pain and numbness in my leg i’ve been experiencing, i have hopes it will help with my chronic pain as well. Seems that genetics have conspired to give me a laundry list of back problems, some of which don’t usually surface until one is in their 50’s. I assure everyone that i have tried every non-invasive treatment known to man, and that this comes only after more than 7 years of ongoing pain. Please think good thoughts for me. Odessa
January 22 2009
Well, the past month has been a slow one for music as i have been in bed for most of it. My back problems have gotten really bad and it looks like surgery is in the near future. Wish me luck and fast healing so that i can get back to what i love to do…..Sing!
January 14 2009
Due to website issues it’s been a spare year for updates, but i’m glad to say it’s been resolved! Good news is that we are near completion of tracking the new record, our third. We still have a ways to go after that with mixing, mastering, and pressing it, but it will be out this year. For right now we are shopping some rough mixes around to some record labels. If any of you have suggestions on possible labels or contacts to share with us, please do. We’ve taken some time off for the holidays to focus on life outside of music, but we have some interesting prospects for this year including a possible collaboration at the yerba buena. For those of you who don’t know, i also make jewelry, and the new website for that is up with online ordering at: http://www.Swandivedesign.Com/jewelry Best wishes in the new year!
April 20 2008
northwest tour and an abundance of interesting collaborations. … some great shows coming up including one with goh nakamura and our first northwest tour in years. please let any friends in portland and seattle know that we’re coming up! In other news, the talented (and also very nice) vienna teng has asked me to sing some background vocals for a song of her upcoming cd on rounder records. i’m very excited that she asked me to participate and i can’t wait to hear how everything turns out, the arrangement for the song she sent me is gorgeous. Http://www.Viennateng.Com also check out her t-shirts with a heart and tree graphic that i designed. I’ve been asked to be part of a very interesting musical series called project soundwave, (featured on kqed’s spark). it will be a unique presentation of music involving motion and will be a 3-d installation type of event. Find out more about this exciting series at Http://www.Projectsoundwave.Com/ the event will be coming up in august. I will be contributing a cover of one of goh nakamura’s songs that will be included in a free download compilation cd. The cd will feature many other local bands and be released in conjunction with the release of goh’s new full length cd sometime this year. Http://www.Gohnakamura.Com I’d love to ask anyone who’d like to help out to write a review of the ballad of paper ships on cd baby. Http://www.Cdbaby.Com our page there looks rather anemic. the ballad of paper ships goes green The philippines was amazing! We traveled to some very remote and uninhabited islands in the palawan, and stayed in a nature preserve there. I have never seen such beautiful fish, shells, craggy mountains and emerald green lagoons. Staying in an open air hut on the beach and reading in a woven grass hammock…amazing The sad part was that some of these islands were covered in human trash, even though no one lives there. The currents brought toothbrushes, bike pedals, glass, plastic, even a child’s plastic backpack ashore. It made me think even more about how to make positive changes. I realized that i forgot to tell people that the ballad of paper ships was printed at groovehouse records, who have been involved in green practices for a long time. They recycle 100% of what they use at the plant, they are fsc certified (which guarantees that any paper used comes from responsible forest operations) and all the inks on press are vegetable based. Their shrink wrap and poly wrap is made of recyclable ldpe (low density polyethylene. It costs a bit more, but it’s worth it!
March 6 2008
Back from the philippines! The trip was relaxing and so beautiful. We spent time in manila and also the palawan, a group of remote and and deserted islands. We drank iced tea, collected the most insane seashells i’ve ever seen and swam in and out of cathedral like lagoons. Now we are back to work and have some really nice shows coming up. We will be playing a show with the moore brothers for the first time in a long long while. They are awesome and just back from a european tour with joanna newsom where they played the royal albert hall. I’m also really happy to be sharing the stage with one of my favorite bands for the past 8 years, winfred e. Eye. still working on the new record.
November 20 2007
My appologies for this updates section being so uneventful….I promise to make things more interesting in the future. The video for kill the lights is out and available for anyone to see here: http://youtube.Com/watch?V=fygtqicjqm0 It’s directed by 22 year old danilo parra who is currently working on a video for bjork. He’s super talented and very nice too. He had a pretty free hand with the video and i love what he’s done. Devin, rich and i are entering the studio in december with special guest guitarist roger riedlbauer (jolie holland, boxcar saints and the cannery) to begin laying down the foundation for the archives. This material was written at the artist retreat in oregon more than two years ago and includes songs that i play live now like lesser creatures and deer perspectives. Yes, it’s about time! In other news the ballad of paper ships has gotten some play at some radio stations even landing in the top 100 for the month and top 35 for a week at kalx berkeley! if you have time to help out please request that your favorite dj play the record. The following stations are playing it, but if you call they’ll play it more! This helps a whole lot. Th ank you! >request lines: kalx 5 10-642-5259 cfru 905-346-2645 cjsw 403-220-3991 kbga 406-243-6226 wtju 434-924-3959/3418 kglt 406.994.3001 ckln 416-595-1655 chrw 519-661-3600 wpvm 828-258-0085 kpfa 510-848-6767 kaur 605-274-5287 kdvs 530-754-kdvs wupx 906-227-2348 chuo 613-562-5967 wras 404-413-9727 kfjc 650 941 2500 wrrc 609-896-5369
July 16 2006
The new record “the ballad of paper ships” is out now.